'Huge effort' to rescue driver

Emergency services personnel carry a 63-year-old Alexandra man around a hillside to a waiting...
Emergency services personnel carry a 63-year-old Alexandra man around a hillside to a waiting Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter yesterday. Photo by Leith Huffadine.

A truck plunged down a hillside so steep yesterday afternoon a winch had to be used to secure the vehicle before rescuers could safely free the driver trapped inside.

The sole occupant of the vehicle, a 63-year-old Alexandra man, was airlifted to Dunedin Hospital with serious injuries after being trapped for about an hour and a-half.

The man was under observation in the hospital's emergency department late last night.

Senior Constable John Clark, of Alexandra, said the truck left Little Valley Rd, and travelled about 40m-50m down a bank before landing in an old water race.

The stretch of road where the crash happened passes through rocky terrain near Alexandra's clock on the hill.

The vehicle appeared to have left the road less than 1m from a roadside barrier.

A tow truck winch was used to secure the vehicle so firemen could safely extricate the man.

''[It was a] huge effort by the fire boys,'' Snr Const Clark said.

More than 20 emergency services personnel, including the Alexandra Volunteer Fire Brigade, were at the scene assisting with the rescue.

The man was eventually carried on a stretcher along a narrow track around the hillside to where an Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter was waiting.

The truck, a Nissan Atlas, was ''pretty much done for'', Snr Const Clark said.

Senior Sergeant Craig Brown, of the Southern District Command Centre, said the man received serious chest and leg injuries.

The cause of the accident was not yet known, he said.

- leith.huffadine@odt.co.nz

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